Slap Shot IV: Islanders destroy Penguins

By now, you’ve seen the mass destruction that took place last night between the Islanders and Penguins. The Long Island hosts avenged a 3-0 shutout defeat nine days ago in which Pens’ forward Max Talbot blindsided Blake Comeau, concussing him. That game also featured Rick DiPietro receiving a one punch knockdown courtesy of Pittsburgh backup Brent Johnson- sending him out of action four to six weeks with a broken jaw. The Islanders didn’t care for the laughter the Pens bench had following the incident. Last night, it all boiled over with the Isles doing significant damage on the scoreboard (9-3) while also brutalizing anyone in a Pens jersey.

In a game reminiscent of Slap Shot, the Islanders and Penguins combined for 15 fights, 10 game misconducts and 346 penalty minutes. Was it excessive? Absolutely. There was no need to go overboard in the third with the game decided. The Islanders led 8-2 and had already made their point with Micheal Haley pounding Craig Adams into submission and goon Matt Martin going out of his way to flatten Talbot who wanted no part of it. But they didn’t stop in the third with Haley beating up Talbot and then skating across the ice to challenge Johnson, who was more than willing to go. It only got worse when former Islander enforcer Eric Godard came off the Pittsburgh bench to interrupt that fight while getting in a few punches, making it an unfair two-on-one. At that point, it was expected in a game that would’ve made Paul Newman’s Reggie Dunlop proud and The Hansons. This was old-time hockey dating back to the 70’s.

We’d already seen this between the Bruins and Canadiens with Boston pounding Montreal in similar fashion two days prior. That game had nearly half the minutes and scraps. Go figure. I could tell almost from the outset what was going to happen. Both teams came out physical. Two fights including career AHLer Trevor Gillies against Godard were just the appetizer. Gillies, who went out of his way to deck poor rookie Eric Tangradi concussing the Pens forward- should be suspended and fined. Thing is he’ll probably go back down along with Martin and probably Haley. So, what will the NHL decision be? Godard’s facing a mandatory 10-game ban for leaving the bench. Both coaches should be suspended for their involvement and we’re sure the NHL will come down hard on the Islanders with a hefty fine.

We’ll try to upload more videos of the chaos and perhaps another post on one of the wackiest games ever. Or as Tony Granato labeled it, “The most embarrassed he’s felt,” to be involved in a game. Well, when your team dishes it out with guys like Matt Cooke, Talbot and even All-Star Kris Letang playing on the edge, at some point you have to expect someone to hit back. Last night, the Islanders did, mugging the Pens. It doesn’t make it right. Maybe if Gary Bettman had a brain, there’d be no instigator and fake tough guys like Cooke would be made accountable for their actions on the ice. There’s no respect anymore and that’s why you’re seeing more and more of these ugly incidents, which do not help the league. But hey, we’re sure the powers to be are proud. Why else would E-Z Target Sean Avery rip the refs for a missed Eric Boulton late elbow following a whistle? This is the NHL’s mess. Hope you’re happy.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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