And in this corner...

I am sitting here on my couch, having recently returned from my vacation, watching the Ultimate Warrior wrestle Bobby the Brain Heenan on MSG classics. The Brain is comically dressed in Andre the Giant like black tights as he unveils a hidden pair of brass knuckles. If he loses, he will be stuffed into a furry weasel outfit. Frankly, I feel this is a terrible mismatch. Poor Brain.

The One Man Gang just lost to Hacksaw Jim Duggan before the Warrior/Heenan match and Lord Alfred Hayes is speculating that Slick's job could be in jeopardy. And we think Baseball managers have it tough?

The Million Dollar Man will take part in tonight's main event. Talk about a guy who has it all. Good head of hair, lots of money, confidence, a Summer home in Hyannis Port, Mass., fancy gold tuxedos. What more could any woman want?

OK, a little hockey. I, along with a few other bloggers from around the NHL predicted the Pens in 6 games in the Cup finals, and perhaps in doing so, showed a lack of appreciation for Detroit's masterful puck possession game. In any event, game 3 is tied nil-nil as I write this. (Never mind, Crosby just scored of a Wing turnover).

Jeff Klein at the Times asked us recently for our thoughts regarding the length of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Finals, for example, have the potential of running 3 Saturday's in length. A schedule clearly attempting to capitalize on ratings. Check out this link for our thoughts.

I'm going to enjoy the rest of game 3 now, of course, only after the weasel suit comes out at MSG.

Worst Fishing Story Ever

You'll forgive a brief non-hockey related entry, as I touch on one of my favorite off-season pastimes. A co-worker recently told me about something she witnessed after work one night last week. It was a terrifying story, one which I could not keep to myself. It's a third person account, but here we go.

My co-worker lives in Bay Ridge and went for a jog one night after work. She noticed a fisherman casting out into the Atlantic, likely looking to hook one of the monster flounder that now qualifies as a "keeper" in the state of New York. (Its up to 21 1/2 inches...good luck with that). Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the fisherman pulling a fish over the wall. As she paused a moment to see what he had landed, it became clear that this was one of those fish with a long skinny tail, pointy mean face, and brown fur. Oh #%*@!!! That's a rat!!!

Well my co-worker (smart girl) absolutely bolted. Before she did, however, she saw this fisherman flip this brown thing on the ground and step on it. It was big and bloated and its wet pointy fur made it look like a porcupine. (She did not stick around long enough to determine if the rat was even alive or not when he came over). Now this fisherman, brave bastard that he is, should probably have a television show lined up. "Furriest Catch", or "World's Scariest Angler".

Now if that had been me, I would have just thrown the whole damn rod into the ocean, rat and all. No cutting the line. No sticking around to think about what just happened. Rat over, me gone. Never to fish in Brooklyn again.

I am going on vacation guys, so I'll catch you next week.

Until then, if you plan on going fishing, be sure to check for the catch limit is for the elusive rat fish... and don't wear your nice sneakers.

An Island Unto Itself

Prior to the second to last home game this season against the Devils, participants of the Blog Box were invited to a meeting attended by members of the media relations department of the Isles, specifically, Chris Botta and Corey Witt. I remember at the conclusion of the meeting a fellow blogger had asked "do you anticipate any changes to the blog box next year?", to which an answer was wryly returned "we are the Islanders after all." As if to imply, with the Islander organization, you should know to expect the unexpected.

And this past week, the unexpected appeared in the resignation of Islander VP of Media Relations, Chris Botta. I, like my fellow bloggers, was shocked. My shock gradually turned to frustration after reading Greg Logan's blog, which indirectly placed the blame (if that's the right word, I don't know)on VP of Sales Marketing and Operations, Chris Dey, son-in law of owner Charles Wang. Logan was hesitant to argue the connection to Mr. Wang mattered. I'm not.

In an April 14th, 2007 article in the New York Times discussing past accounting irregularities at Computer Associates, Mr. Wang's management style was summarized as follows by a report issued by company's board:

"Mr. Wang created a “culture of fear” at Computer Associates — now called CA — and deliberately put inexperienced executives in senior positions so that he would have more control, according to the report. He discouraged executives from meeting with each other and arbitrarily fired managers or employees who disagreed with him." According to the Times, the report also said “Under Mr. Wang, CA was known as a ‘one-headed’ dragon, and no significant decisions were made without his participation and approval.”

True? I do not know. For the record, Mr. Wang very strongly disagreed with report's findings.

Reading that quote however, gives me pause. I think immediately of Neil Smith. I think then of Garth Snow. I think of Pat LaFontaine. I now think of Chris Botta. I read the quote above, and am haunted by these names.

I do not know Chris Botta. At least on a personal level. But I did observe him on many occasions in the locker room and the surrounding area in the Coliseum. He was always professional. Cool under stressful circumstances, such as after the stomping incident with Chris Simon. He accommodated beat writers with their requests concerning availability of players, and would, for example, make sure a player was there if the Times was writing a special article, perhaps about face washing. He was respectful to members of the Blog Box. He didn't have to be. I recall leaving the locker room after games and him saying "thanks for coming out". Really? Thanking me for coming to an Islander game and enjoying the experience of being in the locker room for post game interviews?

Thank you Chris.

And now, faced with another embarrassing loss of a key member of its personnel, the Islanders no longer have the one guy who could have helped them find the silver lining. That person, 20 years with the organization, is gone.

Will he be the last?