One thing that never, ever gets old: taking my seat in the press box late first period and seeing the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum completely jam-packed with Islanders-loving fans. From my colleagues on the staff, let me say thank you, thank you, thank you. Let me also tell you that more than a half-dozen players, plus Ted, said something to me after the game in the room about the crowd. Fans: never think for a moment it goes unappreciated.
As thousands upon thousands of column inches are wasted in discussing the Yankees' and Mets' pursuit of Johan Santana, remember this: did ANYONE have the scoop on the Mets' deal to get Johnny Estrada? Did anyone even mention Estrada as a possibility? Nah, didn't think so.
When the deal fell through with the catcher from Colorado with the long name, we had a few days of articles with "sources" saying what the Mets were going to do next. Maybe go back to LoDuca for another year. Or Barrett. Or this guy. Or maybe that guy.
NO ONE had the Mets getting Estrada for Mota. So keep those "sources" coming, guys. And all those wasted, pointless back pages.
New Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is another guy whom it's tough to root against because he has worked so hard to get his first NHL head coaching gig at age 52. But here's another reason: he has a connection to your NYI.
When I started with the Islanders about 47 years ago, one of my "beats" on the publication staff was the franchise's AHL team in Springfield, Mass. Boudreau, then 32 years old, was the veteran scorer on that team. Big-time scorer: 42 goals and 116 points his first season in 1987-88 before being dealt midseason a year later. His teammates in Springfield included many players well-known to Islanders fans:
Bill Berg, Brad Dalgarno, Derek King, Jeff Hackett, Jeff Finley, the dearly departed Duncan MacPherson, Mick Vukota, Ken Leiter, Ari Haanpaa, Richard Kromm, Tom Fitzgerald, Rob DiMaio, plus two games with a rehabilitating future captain named Patrick Flatley.
I doubt Flats or Bruce remember much about those games. Either way, good luck, Coach.